Good Ideas
Well, I've had my fair share of things going wrong... Just like any first-time owner builder will (Just check out my 'Bad Ideas' page for proof!).
However, that same lack of experience which leads to those errors in judgment, also allows us to think outside the box, and just occasionally come up with some really original ideas.
Here's a list of some of my 'pet' favorite ideas, which have enhanced my house or made my job go a little bit smoother.........
Rock feature walls
Curvy wall
Timber flitches against walls
Planning ahead
Fluid planning and friends ideas
Miscellaneous - a few cool ideas worthy of note
     
    Rock feature walls  
   
     
  I had a dilemma: As I was rejecting mud bricks, it became apparent that I would not have enough to finish my house.
Then I had an inspiration.. I was planning to lay some big rocks inside my Kitchen wall to act as shelves. Why not extend this feature throughout the whole house and make it part of the brick pattern!
This piece of problem solving enhanced my house architecturally. Aand is a great example of how problems can be turned around, and be made better than the original.
 
     
  Laying iron-stone in my mud walls matching the patterns of my bricks has proven to be a very time consuming process. Not only does it take a long time to lay so many rocks, it also holds back the much faster mud brick laying.
This extra time and paid labor has cost me about $1000. However I think this is well worth it, as architecturally the effect is quite startling.
For current pics of the rock features, check out.... <Progress shots>
 
     
 
Also, all that rock doubles as a climbing wall!
And with a few blocks of wood laid alongside the rocks to screw a couple of climbing holds onto, I am sure I will be having a fun time with this for years to come.
 
     
 
Here's a front view a new face/climbing hold rock, laid in my mud wall   The back view shows how it is tied back, using a Dynabolt, brick tie & brick mesh
 
     
 
  <back to top>  
       
    Curvy wall  
   
     
  I love my curvy wall. It gives a spectacular feel when you walk through the front door and see that big curvy void.
Having the radius didn't even take away any usable space from the living room area, as the radius just changed the stair landing from having a square shape to a quadrant shape. The column for the stair landing didn't even end up moving position.
In fact, upstairs it increased the space of the bedroom that wall ended up being in. And having a curvy wall with windows in it, gave the room a very cool vibe.
It did cost more in both time and money to build, than a square corner would have, as it took longer to set out. And of course a string line was out of the question.
But the extra time and effort was well worth it.
 
     
 
Here's a view of my curvy wall from the stair side   Here's a view of my curvy wall from inside the bedroom
 
     
 
  <back to top>  
       
    Timber flitches against walls  
   
     
 
Laying my off cut flitches against my mud walls has proven to be a good idea.
They will line up with my beams and look like they are trees recessed into the wall, when the walls are rendered up to them they will look very good indeed.
 
     
 
They also provide a convenient way to run conduit. You just groove out the back of them. Also it means that the light switches and power points end up being set into wood, not mud.
 
     
 
  <back to top>  
       
    Planning  
   
     
  Knowing I was going to build years before I started, allowed me to start collecting big time. I have literally found $50 thousand in materials!... If you don't believe me, check out my obtainium list.
 
     
 
  <back to top>  
       
    Fluid planning and friends ideas  
   
     
  Don't be afraid to change your plans on the fly.
Listen to what friends think you should do to your house, it is a great way to think outside the box that you don't realize your in.
Sometimes you get so sold on an idea, you stop considering alternative methods or looks. When someone looks at your design with fresh eyes and no knowledge of the history of the job, you get original insights
I've incorporated some fantastic ideas this way. Ideas I just would not have had other wise.
 
     
 
 
     
  Here's some of my favorite ideas that people have given me:
(I will update this list as the ideas are incorporated and I can take photo's of them or I remeamber them)
 
     
 
Cindi was adamant that I put these windows in offset to one another, so that the eye didn't stop at them. the feature certainly dose work.  
     
Bike bell door bell - Cindi    
Japanes bath - Cindi    
Glass in bathroom meeting at joint . John Marino    
External plumbing.. Dave and Jen    
Hammocks between beams in stairwell void with safty tie of poit on ridge beam. Brain storming with sarah and Matt.    
Old skool water pump... Dave and Jen    
External bread oven.. Steve    
Retaining wall layouts.. Steve    
 
     
 
  <back to top>  
       
    Misc  
   
       
    This web site  
    This web site, although a little bit time consuming, has been beneficial, in that, it has helped me keep track of my project. It has doubled as a diary, record keeper and planner.
Plus it gives me something to do at nights :) <link>
 
       
    Obtainium !!!  
       
    My shack  
    Building a shack to live in on site, ended up being a great way to build. Advantages include: Saving heaps on rent, Building site security, fun to build and live in, and being able to get up later in the mornings!
< about my shack >
 
       
    Oil tins as formwork  
   
  As I converted my Hiace van to run on veggie oil ( <veggie van> ), I seemed to accumulate a lot of empty 20lt oil drums.
I found that these drums half filled with water, make an extreamly stable temporary scaff.
(A lot more stable than the more typically used milk creates)
 
       
   

Overalls!

 
    I love working in overalls... In winter its like working in a sleeping bag!  
       
    Columns from trees on site  
   
 
Most of my columns are made from the trees I cut down on my block.
I really enjoy it when people ask "Where did you get that piece of timber from?".
Because I can reply by pointing to about a metre left or right of the column, and saying "There."
< Erecting my column >

 

 
       
    Use recycled paint!  
    All the paint i have used, has been recycled paint. The vast majority of which has from council throw-outs.
As paint is so expensive, and finding good paint is pretty easy, it's an easy cost saver. Here ar my tips on using discarded paint:
 
   
1.   The No.1 reason that paint goes-off, besides it getting air, or besides it being 30 years old... Alright.... the 3rd most common reason for paint going-off is: freezing.
Especially enamels. So if you live in a cold area like I do, storing paint outside like I did, is a sure good way of loosing allot of good paint (Newb)
2.   You will find allot of half tins, so before mixing them together, make a small trial mix to make sure the paints a compatible with each other.
3.   Most of the paint you will find, will ether have grit in it, or have rust flakes in it from the rusty rim of the tin.
So when mixing find a nice big plastic bucket (Which you will have, because you just finish jointing the Gyproc).
Then pour your paint through two layers of fine 'tool' (flyscreen material) or lightly woven material. You will now be able to work with nice paint from a grit free bucket.
4.   Store unused paint in plastic containers with electrical tape around the rim.
5.   Be prepared for your girlfriend to not like the colour of your re-mixed, recycled paint... And then override your colour decision, and then go out and buy another colour, and paint over the top!
 
       
 
 
<back to top>